4.0 as high as it will go for Greensburg Salem students
By Bob Stiles
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013, 7:09 p.m.
A Greensburg Salem committee has recommended against weighting classes when determining grade point averages achieved by district students.
The committee, which has been reviewing grades, class rankings and other issues for several months, voted 14-0 against weighting classes to reward students taking more difficult courses in calculations used to determine students' grade point averages.
One member abstained from the vote.
Kenneth Bissell, coordinator of secondary education, presented the committee's findings during a recent school board meeting. Administrators, teachers and community members served on the panel.
“I don't think that's best for our student body,” Bissell said of weighting classes. “I don't think that's in the right direction.”
District students can only achieve up to a 4.0 grade point average, even if they take more difficult Advanced Placement or honors courses.
The district has not used weighted classes, or applied a formula to grades to help students taking more difficult classes, since the 1990s.
The committee was formed because of a concern some students were avoiding Advanced Placement or honors courses so they could achieve a 4.0 and be recognized during graduation ceremonies.
Changes need to be made to commencement ceremonies “because we do see flaws in that,” Bissell told the board.
The committee reached its conclusion for several reasons, Bissell explained.
He said most colleges and universities ascertain what type of grading system a district uses and admissions officials view grades accordingly.
“Weighted grades don't matter to them. They have to strip it all down,” said teacher Jeremy Lenzi, a committee member.
In addition, colleges and universities assess a student's community activities, said guidance counselor Laura Klipa, another member of the committee.
Students who excel at languages or the arts would be penalized under a system that would give greater weight to math or science courses, Bissell said.
School districts have several ways of weighting classes. When each system was applied to student transcripts, different results were reached, said Rose O'Neill, gifted program teacher.
“Each time it came down to a different score, so there was no equality,” she added.
School directors still have questions.
“I don't see how kids have the incentive to take these classes (Advanced Placement or honors) ... when they're not getting any more credit for it,” Director Lee Kunkle said.
“Being that they are educators, I value their opinion and the fact that they all were in agreement,” president Nat Pantalone said. “I do still, however, think that some items need to be addressed. An example would be scholarships ... .”
“I also would be in favor of offering advanced classes in the arts or other areas of interest,” Pantalone said.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Voice of Hempfield’ departs with Class of 2014
- Greensburg roads will be smoothed with new paver
- Board scrutinizes safety in Greensburg Salem’s schools